The leading Russian search engine Yandex is expected to raise up to $2 billion at initial public offering (IPO) of shares in New York in the upcoming autumn based on the company’s preliminary valuation of $5 billion, according to Reuters. Yandex is said to have mandated the investment banks Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank and Renaissance Capital to manage its IPO on NASDAQ.
Yandex topped both Yahoo! and Microsoft with 528 million (or 2.2 percent of European searches) in March 2008, according to comScore. Yandex reaches over 62% of Russian internet audience with more than 47% of all searches conducted in Russia, followed by Google, Rambler, and Mail.ru. Yandex reported revenues of $167 million in 2007. The company was founded by its current managers CEO Arkady Volozh and CTO Ilya Segalovich more than 10 years ago and only raised $5.3 million from private equity investors back in 2000.
Google‘s co-founder Sergey Brin admitted in an interview to a Russian newspaper that Yandex “has many talented people”. Google is estimated to have twice less daily searches in Russia than Yandex.
Russia is expected to become the 2nd largest Internet market in Europe by the end 2008 with the country’s online advertising spending forecasted to double in 2008.